6th October, 2019, saw Mumbai’s popular boutique bookshop – KitabKhana (Fort) – brimming with as many children as adults to celebrate the 8th Poetry Festival for children and the 3rd book launch under the ‘100 Thousand Poets for Change’ flagship. Brilliantly coordinated by poet and literati, Menka Shivdasani, and conducted by former Principal, Queen Mary School – Rati Dady Wadia, the fest also featured plays, written and directed by children’s book author – Katie Bagli.
With Chief Guest – Lubaina Bandukwala and Guest of Honour – Ayra Cama, this year’s book launch was dedicated to two spiritual souls – Shanoor Sarosh Forbes – a tetraplegic for 30 years, and Divyansh Atman who braved Leukemia for a decade before succumbing to it at the age of 22 – both shared a zest for life despite their circumstances, and both had been participants in earlier Poetry Festivals. Titled, ‘The Miracle of Life’, the book was unveiled by Divyansh’s parents – Nidhi and Sushil Poddar.
Ayra Cama read her poem on the spirited Shanoor Forbes, who despite being paralysed neck-down, lived actively and enthusiastically. Divyansh’s teacher Rati Wadia shared his life sketch – praising him as a young braveheart who lived every moment of life to the fullest, a poet himself, a loving and compassionate soul.
Then kicked off the poetry festival, which had ‘beauty’ as its theme. Numerous children displayed their talents, reciting their compositions, showcasing most wondrously how a thing of beauty is a joy forever. Next, Vareeja Thakkar sang a beautiful rendition of the classic Bollywood hit, ‘Satyam Shivam Sundaram’, accompanied by her mandolin.
Two plays, written by Katie Bagli, were ably enacted by children. The finale comprised a Bangla song by Rabindranath Tagore, sung mesmerizingly by Dhwani Pandya, thus concluding a fun and fulfilling morning, as spectators reviewed paintings on beauty done by the talented tots. The cover page and illustrations inside the book as also the exhibits were all done by Queen Marians.
Pics courtesy: Chinmay Mandrekar